Benjamin Hannam: Neo-Nazi Metropolitan Police officer jailed for four years

Former National Action member guilty of fraud and possessing material useful to a terrorist

Liam James
Friday 30 April 2021 12:41
Hannam was a member of banned far-right group National Action
Hannam was a member of banned far-right group National Action

Benjamin Hannam, the first British police officer convicted of belonging to a banned neo-Nazi terrorist group, has been jailed for more than four years.

The 22-year-old from Enfield was found guilty of membership of right-wing extremist group National Action (NA).

Hannam was convicted on two counts of fraud after lying on his police application and vetting forms, and two counts of possessing information useful to a terrorist. He also pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child.

He had been working as a probationary officer for the Metropolitan Police for nearly two years before he was found on a leaked database of users of an extreme right-wing forum. He was arrested in March last year.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC sentenced Hannam, who was last week sacked by the Met for gross misconduct, to a total of four years and four months on Friday, with an extra one-year licence period.

Hannam had harmed public trust in the police, but politics “played absolutely no part” in his work and there was no evidence he had been planning to infiltrate the force to aid the far right, the judge said.

The court heard Hannam joined NA in March 2016, months before it was proscribed by the government.

Hannam was filmed spray-painting NA logo days before applying to join Met

Hannam, who has autism, told jurors he was “desperate to impress” an older NA organiser. He went on to try to recruit a new member via the extremist Iron March forum and posed in an official photograph on Crosby Beach at the NA national conference in Liverpool in April 2016, jurors were told.

Between January and July 2017, he met NA members on several occasions.

Days before he applied to join Scotland Yard on 19 July, he spray-painted an NA symbol in a storm drain on a trip that was filmed for a promotional video.

He was asked on applying to the Met if he had ever been a member of the British National Party “or similar organisation”, which he fraudulently denied.

Scotland Yard said checks on Hannam’s work revealed no complaints from colleagues or members of the public.

Investigators believed Hannam ceased active involvement with NA by October 2017.

When he was arrested last year, officers searched his bedroom and found Nazi-style posters and notes detailing his membership of NA, along with memorabilia.

Police found two documents useful to a terrorist on a USB stick. One was the manifesto of mass murderer Anders Breivik and the other detailed how to carry out a fatal knife attack.

Aisla Williamson, defending, said Hannam’s autism made him “vulnerable” to targeting and grooming by NA.

Additional reporting by agencies